Getting my tits out for charity (no, not like that)

01/07/2018

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Last week, I woke up from a nightmare at 2am with my cheeks covered in tears.  The details are a bit foggy, but it involved my little boy, who’s now 2, and Abe Lincoln.  Weird right? But the overriding feeling was that my son was danger and might not survive.   It was triggered by the news about the children being taken away from their parents at the American border, and the feeling of helplessness as I watched the story unfold and felt desperate to do something.  Part of my evolving business plan involves fundraising, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do.

Then, Countess Ablaze set my heart on fire.

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This colourway went a bit boom a couple of months ago. Dyed in response to a misogynistic encounter we'd experienced, we dyed this and Shit Tea and Tray Bake, and raised over £3000 for Women's Aid. We don't dye the colourway anymore (when you've dyed over 1000 skeins of something in a two week period, you really cannot imagine wanting to dye it anymore!) but we sell swag and a % are donated to charity. So why am I bringing this up again? A dyer who is seen knitting with our original colourway in their feed has produced a knock-off. Coincidences happen. There's only so much you can do with dye. But when it's blatantly obvious like this… well I'm not angry, I'm disappointed. I expected better. 🔥This colourway has become iconic. 🔥This colourway enabled a couple of women to leave their abusive relationships (that I've been told about). 🔥This colourway gave other creatives the confidence to say “no” to working for exposure. 🔥This colourway raised money for charity. So what would The Countess do? We deal with this with class. We're not dyeing this colourway anymore but I'm throwing it open to other indie dyers instead to dye their own versions. Of course, rules are needed! Email me at contact@countessablaze.com so I know you're on board Your colourway is called If I Want Exposure, I'll Get My Tits Out (Name Of Your Version) . £3 per skein minimum (or your currency equiv) is to be donated to a charity of your choice. Tell me who they are. If you won't do this, you are not to get involved. All versions launch together on your own selling platforms on July 1st. We market this together, as a community. The best work is done when we work together and support each other. 💜 On the back of yesterday's livestream, we've already got 21 dyers and a handful of designers who want to participate too. Dyers can dye as much or as little of this colourway as you wish, can do pre-orders or ready to ship, whatever suits your working style. Whatever yarn bases you want (even fibre!) Give me a couple of days to get my shit together with a fancy spreadsheet etc but we will email you back. 🤘 Hashtags #titsoutcollective #ifiwantexposureillgetmytitsout

A post shared by Countess Ablaze | Indie Dyer (@countessablaze) on

Running a fiercely anarchic and rebellious knitting yarn brand, the Countess responded to a couple of personal affronts to her business in the most amazing way.  In answer to a patronising request for all kinds of free stuff, she dyed a kick-ass yarn called “If I Wanted Exposure, I’ll Get my T*ts Out” and donated a % to charity. She’s raised £3,000 for Women’s Aid.

Then, when someone ripped off the iconic yarn, she responded by mustering an army of creatives to raise even more funds for a whole range of causes.  You can hear the full story on the Countess Ablaze website here.

So, at 12 noon on Sunday the 1st of July, the #titsoutcollective launches a range of vibrant yarns and goodies, sold by creatives across the world.  You can see the gallery of amazing-ness here.

After hearing about the project, I walked my dog around a field under the moon thinking “it’s such a short deadline, there are loads of other things to do by the 1st of July, I don’t think I can join in….”  But of course, I am!

I’m launching a range of Great Tit inspired pretty things, featuring illustrations of these mighty little birds I am lucky enough to watch in my garden.  A percentage from each sale will go to Together Rising, a charity working at grass roots level to help the families torn apart as they try to find refuge in America.  There is still so much to do and … children remain separated from the people they love.  You can read all about them here.

Wooden pin by illustrator Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.comWooden pin by illustrator Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.comWooden pin by illustrator Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.comGreat tits print by illustrator Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.com

You can shop my little collection on Sunday in the Samdrawsthings shop here.

There’s a cherry wood pin or pendant laser etched with my Great Tits design, available with and without text and a print of the birds on a background inspired by the colours of the yarn. And the there’s a print of The Exposure Doesn’t Pay the Bills Fairy.

This totally badass fairy was inspired by the incredible Countess Ablaze, and the way she stands up for herself and empowers others to do the same.

As a creative person trying to make a living from my work, I really need a friendly reminder every now and again that it’s OK to charge people, that this is a real job, and although I do things for cheap or free sometimes, I do also need to make money. And it really is OK to ask.

This fairy is ideal to stick on the wall of your studio or above your desk to remind you that exposure doesn’t pay the bills. She’ll watch over you and wag her figure disapprovingly when you don’t ask for what you’re worth. She reminds you that you ARE valuable, that your time, energy and skill are precious resources.

It’s such an exciting and busy day – check out the wonderful yarn and lovely things created at countessablaze.com.


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